Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno was in no hurry to forward to authorities a witness' report of a sexual abuse of a young boy because he didn't want to "interfere with their weekends," according to a deposition read in court today.
The man Paterno told about the abuse, former athletic director Tim Curley, testified in a deposition today that he didn't think it was a crime, so he didn't call the police.
Their testimony was among a series of accounts by Penn State officials who displayed a remarkable lack of urgency after a boy was allegedly sexually assaulted in a Penn State locker room shower in 2002 by former coach Jerry Sandusky.
The day ended with Judge William C. Wenner ruling that there was enough evidence to try Curley and former vice president of finance Gary Schultz on charges of perjury.
In a hearing at Dauphin County District Court today, Paterno's deposition was read in which he recounts being told by assistant coach Mike McQueary that he saw Sandusky fondling a boy.
Paterno, who is 84 and battling cancer, did not appear in court. His deposition was entered into the record.
"He (McQueary) had seen a person, an older person, fondling a young boy," Paterno testified. "I don't know what you would call it, but it was of a sexual nature. I didn't push Mike to describe it because he was already upset, but it was something inappropriate to a youngster."
"I didn't want to interfere with their weekends, (so) either Saturday or Monday, I talked to my boss, Tim Curley, by phone, saying, 'Hey we got a problem' and I explained the problem to him," Paterno said.
Curley, in his deposition, said he did not think the incident constituted a crime worthy of calling the police, despite admitting to the grand jury that he knew Sandusky had been seen showering naked with a boy and inappropriately horsing around and wrestling with him.
"I never reported it to University Police. I didn't think that it was a crime at the time," Curley testified.
The reactions by Paterno and Curley follow a pattern of lax responses by university and Second Mile officials to sex abuse allegations against Sandusky.
McQueary, who witnessed the 2002 incident in the locker room, said that rather than physically stopping the assault, or even saying anything to Sandusky while he was in the shower with the boy, he merely slammed his locker and walked out of the building.
Instead of calling the police, McQueary talked about it to his father and didn't call Paterno until the next day.
Schultz, the vice president of finance, was informed of two such allegations against Sandusky, once in 1998 and again in 2002, but did not think that he should investigate the claims further, according to testimony given today.
John McQueary, Mike McQueary's father, testified that following the 2002 incident he spoke to Schultz during a routine business meeting, and Schultz said he was aware of multiple allegations against Sandusky but had not been able to do anything about it.
"I was expecting something to be done," John McQueary testified today. "(Schultz said) 'John, there had been other allegations and we looked into them before and we have never been able to unearth or sink teeth into something that was substantial.' But I got the sense that he was going to investigate what Mike saw."
The former head of university police, Thomas Harmon, testified that in 1998, a mother reported to campus police that Sandusky had hugged her son in the shower. Harmon notified Schultz and the district attorney, who launched an investigation. Harmon said he kept Schultz closely updated on the investigation until it was closed by the DA. He also said he was never told by Schultz of the 2002 incident, despite being head of campus police until 2005.
University president Graham Spanier was notified of the 2002 incident by Schultz and Curley but also did not report the incident to police.
McQueary Testifies About Sandusky Sex With Boy
The hearing today hinged on the testimony of Mike McQueary, who is the prosecution's main witness in the cases against Curley, Schultz, and Sandusky.
McQueary said that while he didn't actually witness Sandusky penetrating a young boy in the shower, he saw activity he believed was sexual and said as much to Paterno and top university officials.
"I never used the word sodomy or anal sex out of respect for Joe Paterno," McQueary said on the witness stand today, relating what he reported to the head coach. "I would not have done it [said it that way]. I sat at the kitchen table and told him that I saw Jerry with a young boy in the shower and it was way over the lines, extremely sexual in nature and thought I needed to tell him about it."
McQueary testified to determine what Penn State officials knew about Sandusky's alleged child sexual abuse on the Penn State campus. Curley and Schultz are charged with perjury for testifying that they only knew of Sandusky "horsing around" with a boy in the Penn State showers, but were not told it was sexual. McQueary's testimony contradicts their stories.
In today's hearing, McQueary said he did not actually see rape, but something he believed was sexual in nature.
"I thought that Jerry was molesting him, having intercourse with him. I didn't see insertion or hear protest," McQueary said. "Jerry having some type of intercourse with him, that's what I believe I saw."
"I heard rhythmic slapping sounds, two or three slapping sounds, like skin on skin," he said of when he walked into the locker room around 9:30 the night of the incident. "I looked into the mirror and shockingly and surprisingly saw Jerry in the shower with a young boy, with Jerry behind the boy."
"The boy was up against the wall, his hands up, Jerry behind him in a close position, with his hands wrapped around the boy. I thought to myself this is a sexual position," he testified.
McQueary conceded that he did nothing physically to stop the attack, but said he made his presence known.
"I stepped back and didn't want to see it anymore. I slammed the locker shut, and when I looked in, they had separated. I know they saw me, they both looked directly into my eyes, and neither said anything to me."
"Seeing that they both saw me, I left the locker room. I can't describe what I was thinking or feeling: shocked, horrified, distraught," he said.
McQueary testified that he told Paterno the next morning that he saw an incident that was extremely sexual in nature, but did not describe specifics or use the words "rape" or "anal sex." Paterno, he said, was shocked and saddened.
"I told Paterno I saw Jerry with a young boy in the showers. It was way over the lines, extremely sexual in nature and I thought I needed to tell him," McQueary said. "You don't go to Coach Paterno and describe in detail those kinds of sexual acts. I wouldn't do that. I told him it was extremely sexual."
McQueary was adamant that he told the same story, emphasizing that he witnessed something sexual, to Curley and Schultz when they had him come in for a meeting in the Bryce Jordan center the next day.
"I said it was an extremely sexual act, and I think it was intercourse," McQueary said. "I told them I heard slapping sounds, I did say that." Curley and Schultz told him they would look into the allegations, and then contacted him four or five days later to say they had put in place some restrictions on Sandusky's access to campus.
McQueary said he believed he was talking to the head of campus police when he talked to Schultz, and therefore never contacted police on his own or suggested to the officials that they should contact police. McQueary said he was troubled when he saw Sandusky on campus after the incident.
One of Sandusky's attorneys, Karl Rominger, said Thursday that there was a simple explanation for why Sandusky would have been in a shower with the boy that night, and it was not sexual.
"Some of these kids don't have basic hygiene skills, teaching a person to shower at the age of 12 or 14 sounds strange to some people, but people who work with troubled youth will tell you there are a lot of juvenile delinquents and people who are dependent who have to be taught basic life skills like how to put soap on their body," Rominger told ABC affiliate WHTM.